Deep in the forest of the Pine Barrens in New Jersey is an infamous and fearsome
creature. It is a monster, like the ones that inhabit the nighttime horrors of sleeping
children, but this one terrorizes people in real life.
The Jersey Devil is commonly described as being about four feet tall, with a large, hideous
head shaped like a horse. It has yellow teeth, two horns protruding from its forehead, and
leathery wings spanning two feet which enables the monster to fly. It is nocturnal and has
a yellow glow. Its mournful cry is sometimes heard.
The legend of the Jersey Devil began in 1735 and was said to be the accursed child of a
woman known as Mother Leeds. She was in labor with her thirteenth child and was in
agonizing pain. She cursed the child and wished it out of her body. The child was born as
she said this. The midwife who was assisting with the birth allegedly died from shock
after seeing the "child". The father, hearing the midwife's scream, burst into the room,
musket in hand, but he too fled the house. The Devil then viscously ate the other twelve
children but spared his mother's life. It fled up the chimney to spend the rest of its days as
The Jersey Devil (or Leed's Devil) was known for its so-called "chimney raids" where it
would enter a house through the chimney terrorizing the inhabitants. It would allegedly
tear up furniture, chase people and pets, and kidnap children by dragging them up the
chimney. Its less violent activities included tangling clothes lines, rustling bushes,
hovering over lone travelers, and casting strange shadows.
In the 1830s and 1840's, the Jersey Devil was reported in Virginia. Among it's victims
were mutilated livestock, dogs, geese, cats, and ducks. It allegedly attempted to grab
children as well. The Devil reemerged in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey in 1909. During
the week from January 16 to the 23rd, it was blamed responsible for mutilating livestock
and pets and leaving hoof-like prints in, on and around houses. Over one thousand
people reported encounters with the creature during that week.
The Jersey Devil has continued to frighten people who wander too far into the woods and
torment hikers who camp within the Pine Barrens to this day. Its most recent citing was
reported in December 1993 by John Irwin. He was driving along Mullica River in
southern New Jersey when he saw a six-foot tall bipedal creature with horns and black,
matted fur. Irwin watched the creature for a few minutes until it disappeared into the
What Could The Jersey Devil Be?
The legend of the Jersey Devil seems to be just that, a legend. It is interesting to note,
however, that certain aspects of the reports indicate that the monster shares some
similarities to other famous cryptozoological entities in other parts of the world. The
Latin-American Chupacabra is a similar, 3-4 foot tall, bipedal creature known to mutilate
livestock and fly at night. Without clear photographs or actual Jersey Devil specimens,
this cryptozoological phenomena remains as baffling as any other.